One of Young Living’s beautiful peppermint fields on a summer day at the Mona, Utah, farm.
What is the condition of the soil? Can you grow lavender in soil that’s 5.5 pH? Can you transplant frereana frankincense and grow it in Oman? Can you grow ylang ylang in Idaho? The answers are, “yes.” You can grow just about anything anywhere. However, it doesn’t mean that the plant is going to produce an essential oil or a therapeutic-grade essential oil.
Another factor I discovered that is really interesting science is that there is a big difference in the plants and oil production on longitude north and south, 80 degrees west compared to longitude north and south, 45 degrees east. This science is becoming very fascinating. Latitude east and west, 15 degrees south is different from latitude east and west, zero degrees, which is Ecuador—the equator. Tropic of Cancer, north of the 45th parallel versus Tropic of Cancer, south of the 45th parallel. These all create differences in the plants and oil production.
So where does the 45th parallel run? Just north of the Utah border about a hundred miles. Every peppermint grower who grows north of the 45th parallel has to harvest at a different time, and they’re also at a different elevation if they want to produce menthol. Below the 45th parallel, at a higher elevation, you cut the plant and distill at a different time to get a higher menthol level. I was the first in the world to discover this. Why? Because of distilling every day for weeks at a time to identify when the oil is the best.
We’re not just doing a little research about a few things; I’m researching every faction of your oil to find where the best is produced—and I will not quit. This factor was not taken into the equation until I started distilling in ten different states and countries: Washington, Idaho, Utah, France, Ecuador, Peru, Oman, Egypt, Taiwan, and Israel—all places where I have actually conducted distillation myself. I’ve distilled in more countries than probably any 100 people combined in the world today. North of the Tropic of Cancer, north of the 45th parallel is Washington; Idaho is south of the 45th parallel; Utah is south. It changes the chemistry of the plant. Why? Part of it is because of elevation variation, but part of it is because of the angle of the UV rays. Doesn’t that make sense?
The GC’s program analyzes constituent peaks and then calculates the area under each peak, thus giving an area percent. This is a comparison of peak areas between two different lots of helichrysum from two different vendors. One of them YL accepted for use; the other was rejected.
GC’s. The other day a lady posted me on my Facebook and said, ”Well, this other company sends out their GC’s, how come Young Living doesn’t?”
I posted her back and said, ”Would you know how to read it if I did?”
Anybody can create anything they want with a GC. What if they spike their oil with a small amount of a strong synthetic chemical and then use only a single 30-meter-column GC? The chemical won’t show up!
So just having a GC printout is meaningless unless you’re an analytical chemist and know how to read it. So why would I waste all the paper just sending them out when no one would even have a clue how to read them? Is there anybody reading this who can look at a GC report and tell me what they’re looking at? I rest my case.
Here is a stark comparison that lists the constituents of two batches of Helichrysum essential oil that were for sale. One was accepted; the other, rejected. Do you know what was interesting? After I rejected the one in red, another company bought it and said it was pure.
Young Living members experience the Seed to Seal® process during the harvest and distillation of oils such as Idaho Balsam Fir and Idaho Blue Spruce at the 2014 Winter Harvest in St. Maries, Idaho.
Here are some of the people who made this year’s distillation of our beautiful Idaho Blue Spruce essential oil possible. We did it in an entire month of distilling and pulling samples every 15 minutes and analyzing them until we knew where we needed to be. Every 15 minutes. That’s why I built the lab in St. Maries, because we’re going to continue growing there. I need to analyze the oil and in an hour and a half have the results so that I know what I need to do. The year before last, I didn’t have a lab in St. Maries, so I had to send the oils FedEx to Utah and wait to get the results back to determine when we should distill next. There is so much to this that people don’t know and understand. What is the proper cutting time? What’s the drying time? Maturing time?
Gary is standing next to dorado azul that he discovered and tested. It is now growing on the Young Living farm in Ecuador.
Here’s dorado azul that I investigated back in 2008 as I started really looking at its chemistry and what values it has. When I looked at the compounds, I knew I wanted this plant. I learned the differences between when it’s distilled dry and when it’s distilled green. Just a one-week difference in the harvesting and distillation, and you will see variances in the compounds there.
So does it make a difference when you cut? Absolutely. How do I know? Because I do it. I don’t just talk about it, I do it.
Then there is Mastrante. A new oil that you’re going to have one day soon. Beautiful! Oh, my goodness. I’ve been developing this plant for four years. Our field is growing and expanding, and we’re almost there. Again, we study the different distillation times and the different drying times to see when the right time is because Mastrante had never been distilled until I distilled it. We have to learn.
In the microbiology section of our Spanish Fork, Utah, laboratory, quality control technicians test to ensure the purity of all Young Living products.
I will just briefly mention that the Research and Product Development departments work on the development and production of your products.
In the microbiology laboratory in Spanish Fork, Utah, we test to be sure there are no pathogens in your products to ensure their safety and quality. You know already about our tests of optical rotation, gas chromatography, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; we also do FTIR or NIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy/Near Infrared) for identification.
Some of the testing is also done in Ecuador, and part of it is done in St. Maries, Idaho. Dr. Casabianca is a support for this testing. Dr. Mahmoud Suhail at the university in Salalah, Oman, does some of the testing there. Testing is also done at Oklahoma State University by HK Lin. It just goes on and on and on.
I would like to say a little more about optical rotation. This instrument analyzes whether an oil is dextrorotatory or a levorotatory, depending on which way light bends as it goes through the oil. If you know an oil is supposed to be dextro and it tests levo, then something is wrong! A GC doesn’t tell you the optical rotation. You have to have the polarimeter (also called a rotometer) to do that. We have that instrument here, and we have the instrument in Ecuador for doing the same thing.
You need to know we have a GC-MS in the lab in Ecuador and in Spanish Fork, Utah. We also have a GC in the lab in St. Maries.
Dr. Chin Chiang, Sr. lab scientist, and Marilyn Contreras-Pinegar, Quality Control manager, are standing proudly next to our new HPLC instrument.
There’s one room of the lab that has three GC’s and a mass spec in it. Here’s another room where Marilyn Contreras-Pinegear and Dr. Chin are standing next to the UPLC: Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography instrument. You might also hear of UHPLC—Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography. What’s different about that instrument? UPLC is the same thing as UHPLC, except for the fact that UPLC is the patented name for a Waters’ instrument.
The main differences between GC and LC is that GC uses a gas mobile phase, while LC uses a liquid mobile phase. Mobile phase refers to what is pushing the sample through the system. Another difference is that a GC focuses on light, volatile compounds, while LC focuses on heavier, larger compounds that don’t necessarily show up in a GC.
It’s taken me many years to get that instrument because it costs so much money. That one instrument cost over $100K. I didn’t need to do that. I could have taken a bonus. But yes, I did need to do it for each of you so that you know when I say your oil is pure, it’s not a guess and I’m not standing up here telling you a bunch of lies. It’s a fact. I’ve invested in your present and in your future.
All of this is just the analytical part where we carry out over nine different tests just on the analytical chemistry of the essential oils.
Brett Smith, research scientist, is seated at the GC-MS, where he performs essential oil analysis.
There’s Brett Smith sitting at the GC-MS. That’s the instrument that fragments our oils to allow us to identify every constituent in them.